East of the Moon

East of the Moon

5.0 1
by David Lanz
New Age pianist David Lanz splits his first Decca album into two parts. The first seven selections -- recorded with top English studio musicians -- touch mythological and archetypal themes. The second half offers Lanz's optimistic "World at Peace," a suite for piano and orchestra. Lanz's distinctive piano stylings permeate each piece, with


New Age pianist David Lanz splits his first Decca album into two parts. The first seven selections -- recorded with top English studio musicians -- touch mythological and archetypal themes. The second half offers Lanz's optimistic "World at Peace," a suite for piano and orchestra. Lanz's distinctive piano stylings permeate each piece, with strong octaves, forward-looking harmonies, and lyrical melodies that soar over inner landscapes of the heart. The opening tracks portray two mythical nature boys: "The Green Man," a joyous, Celtic drum-driven romp embellished with piccolo and ullieann pipes, and "Dancing with Dionysos," which tirelessly bounds, swoops, and swirls. Another amorous deity gets gentler treatment: "Chasing Aphrodite" is a delicate waltz, as elusive as catching cherry blossoms in a breeze. "East of the Moon," the title track, tiptoes on starlight strokes of the violin (Gavin Wright), then soars and frolics with a sense of adventure. The orchestral suite -- a musical vision of what the world will be like after world peace -- is sweeping and grand, prayerful and respectful, gentle and loving. "Renaissance" restores a classical order, while the "Transformation" finale bestows victorious blasts of blessings over the entire planet. Lanz and orchestrator/conductor Steven Ray Allen ably develop their themes, though I can imagine more conflict and dynamic tension -- the better to appreciate their musical vision of paradise.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
Setting the standard for instrumental piano music since the mid-'80s, when the term "new age" was the fashionable way to label it, David Lanz has worked ambitiously with orchestra before, most notably on 1990's Skyline Firedance. On his Phillips debut East of the Moon, however, he creates a majestic, dual-themed recording unlike any in his bestselling Narada Records catalog. First, he delves into a spirited intertwining of Greek mythology and rock & roll, then formulates a classically-influenced, six-movement suite declaring his hope for a "World at Peace." Initially, Hugh Padgham seems to be an odd production choice on Lanz's part, but the producer -- best known for his pop classics with Sting, Melissa Etheridge, and Phil Collins -- builds a lively, rocking environment around the first tunes: the Irish-scented "The Green Man" (which begins with a Collins-esque drum fill and finds Lanz dancing over uilleann pipes and pennywhistle) and the symphonic, hard-blues, organ-based "Dancing With Dionysus." While Lanz enjoys jamming more than ever before, his feathery ivory intertwining with Dave Heath's flute on "Chasing Aphrodite" reminds us of his command with graceful piano ballads. Though the "World at Peace" has its booming orchestral swells, this same sort of gentle sway and sparse, acoustic piano melody approach (with touches of flute and violin) are the dominant sounds driving Lanz's soaring millennial vision from "Declaration" and "Prayer of Peace" through "Renaissance" and "Transformation."

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Lanz   Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards
Matthew Fisher   Hammond Organ
Steven Ray Allen   Conductor
Paul Archibald   Trumpet
Miles Bould   Percussion
Philippa Davies   Flute
John Heley   Cello
Manu Katché   Snare Drums
Paul Kegg   Cello
Gary Kettel   Timpani
Martin Loveday   Cello
Dominic Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Pino Palladino   Bass
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Frank Ricotti   Percussion
George Robertson   Viola
Paul "Wix" Wickens   Keyboards
Kate Wilkinson   Viola
Gavyn Wright   Violin
Paul Morgan   Bass
Mary Scully   Bass
Helen Tunstall   Harp
Peter Lale   Viola
Bruce White   Cello
Dave Heath   Flute,Piccolo
John Anderson   Oboe
Katie Clemmow   English Horn,Oboe
Helen Keen   Flute
Donald McVay   Viola
John Pigneguy   Horn
Richard Watkins   Horn
Richard Henry   Bass Trombone
Gerard Fahy   Pipe
Nick Bucknall   Clarinet
Paul Barratt   Bass Trombone
Ivo Van Werff   Viola
David Daniels [cello]   Cello

Technical Credits

Paul Golding   Contributor
David Lanz   Producer
Steven Ray Allen   Arranger
Hugh Padgham   Producer,Engineer
Paul "Wix" Wickens   Programming
Penny Bennett   Art Direction

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East of the Moon 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This long-awaited new release from pianist David Lanz is a delight from start to finish. From the opening strains of the exuberant ¿The Green Man¿ to the pure poetry of the closing track, ¿The Visitor¿, East of the Moon features a full spectrum of Lanz¿ playing and composing styles - and what a wonderful ride it is! The first seven tracks of the album are based on mythology and personal experiences, and have a more pop/rock feel than the six-part ¿World at Peace¿ which is more of a concerto for piano and orchestra. Producer Hugh Padgham suggested recording the album live rather than in layers, a proposal that was both daunting and exciting for Lanz. The resulting recording very successfully captures the freshness and spontaneity of a concert performance with the polish of a studio recording. Recorded in Great Britain in early 1999, Lanz included some great English studio musicians, and his frequent guest artist, Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum, appears on three tracks. Dave Heath¿s flute and piccolo add ebullience, as do Gerald Fahy¿s Ullieann pipes. I absolutely love ¿The Green Man¿, a tribute to an ancient pagan symbol of birth and creativity. This joyful piece all but bubbles over. Dave Heath¿s piccolo adds a sprightly buoyance, and it¿s impossible to sit still while listening to this piece. ¿Dancing With Dionysos¿ is also an intoxicating romp (the mischievous glissando in the middle is a great touch!), full of fun and life. Lanz¿ original work hasn¿t been this upbeat since Skyline Firedance, and I welcome back this energetic side of his creativity.¿Chasing Aphrodite¿ is classic Lanz with mostly live musicians (as opposed to synth only), giving a warmth and richness often missing in sythnthesized accompaniments. The title cut has a somewhat otherworldly feeling, describing the place where The Green Man lives (¿just west of the stars and east of the moon¿). ¿On the Edge of a Dream¿ quiets the mood to a peaceful state between waking and dreaming, not quite sure of where we are. ¿And Time Stood Still¿ is one of my favorites - a reflective and pensive piece created in the mental state where the passage of time is unconscious. Matthew Fisher¿s Hammond organ adds interesting color to this mostly piano piece. ¿World at Peace¿ is the ¿soundtrack to David¿s vision of our planet. In development for a number of years, it opens with the ¿Declaration Overture¿, where an imagined historic gathering of world leaders has taken place to sign ¿The Declaration of World Peace¿. The grandeur and majesty of this piece reflects how momentous such an event would be. My favorite part of this work is the second movement, ¿Prayer for Peace¿, with its lyrical bass arpeggios and gentle melody. All six parts of ¿World at Peace¿ are very classical and fully orchestrated. Each section moves through time, welcoming ¿a new universal spirit of cooperation¿ and the resulting advancements and improvements in the environment and society as a whole. ¿World at Peace¿ was a huge project, and the results are breathtaking. The final track, ¿The Visitor¿ is another favorite. Its simplicity and grace are at once touching and haunting, telling the story of an unseen ¿visitor¿ gently coaxing it into being. This is a truly peaceful close to an exceptional work. Along with the universal themes running through this album, David Lanz successfully breaks down the artificial boundaries that pigeon-hole music into ¿types¿. There are elements of rock in the rhythms and energy of several of the pieces, classical forms in the construction and scale of others, folk traditions, new age characteristics (whatever they are), and good old story-telling all blended together to make a warm and cohesive whole that should speak to a universal audience, an artistic goal that Lanz expressed when we did an interview in `98. I hope the world is ready to listen!